Entertainer Randall Franks was among the recent honorees at the 42nd annual Atlanta Society of Entertainers Awards receiving the Bluegrass Band of the Year Award with his Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band.
Franks, who is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from the TV series “In the Heat of the Night,” starred in three TV series and 15 films. Musically, he is recognized as an International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend and Independent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.
“Performing among some of the best performers in our state in many genres is a great honor,” Franks said. “It is such a blessing to do it with a talented group of performers in their own right. I know each of us are thankful for the recognition that what we do is touching others.”
Appearing as part of the Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band were Pete Hatfield and Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame members – Jerry and Helen Burke, Rick Smith, Dean Marsh and J. Max McKee.
Organized for a special PBS TV appearance in 2009, the band still receives requests for appearances, Franks said.
See Randall Franks and the Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band on YouTube with “The Old Black Fiddle”
The group which is made up of members of several other acts will be included on Randall’s upcoming “30 Years on Radio and TV Volume II” CD from the Share America Foundation, Inc. expected out in November. The CD will raise funds for the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship encouraging youth in Appalachian music.
Franks became a country music personality as a youth beginning appearances at major country, folk, bluegrass and gospel events such as Country Music Association Fan Fair, National Folk Festival, National Quartet Convention, National Black Arts Festival and for the Grand Ole Opry. With 24 career albums in four genres, his latest is “Keep ‘Em Smilin’” He has performed to over 145 million fans around the world. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist featured across the Southern and Midwestern U.S. and an author with eight books including his “Encouragers III: A Guiding Hand” releasing this week.
Some among the genres and entertainers performing and receiving honors at the event were Jazz – Joey Stuckey; Western Swing – The Junction Band; Blues – The Danny Miller Band and The Mike Watson Band; Classic Country – Highridge; Comedy Bluegrass – The McKee Family Band; Traditional Country – Donna Robinson and Friends with special guest Katie Deal; Bluegrass Gospel – Hickory Wind Bluegrass; Contemporary Country – David Gardner; and Southern Rock – Southern Breeze ATL.
Country musician Jerry Braswell, who performed with numerous stars from Porter Wagoner to Ernest Tubb, received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Horizon Award winner was banjo stylist Landon Fitzpatrick.
Some other performers included Lorraine Guth Parker, Danny Gardner; Mitzie Gardner; Greta Hopkins; and Megan Burke.